People turned away from Obama speech because of too little space

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
PHOENIX -- It was a packed house at Central High School. Too packed. Some people holding tickets for Thursday’s speech by President Barack Obama were turned away.
 
3TV learned late in the day from the Phoenix Union High School District that the Phoenix fire marshal made the call.

The auditorium holds 1,000 people, but with the risers and stage, that number was cut to 750.
 
Obama entered the auditorium with a sea of cellphones recording the moment.
 
“It was a madhouse,” said JW Hudson. “It was packed. Everybody was elbow to elbow. I had to sit in there for two hours just waiting for him to show up.”
 
Hudson was one of the lucky few who squeezed into the building.

Others in the Obama-friendly crowd said the speech about housing and interest rates was positive and well received.
 
“He was talking about the housing situation, what he's done in the administration the last six years, and what he's going to do in the future here," said Kevin Breen.
 
“It was the best feeling you could have being in there with him,” said Velma Hill. “He was very calm and very well spoken and just friendly. It was great.”
 
Across the street from the school, supporters and protesters crowded the sidewalk.

Before the speech began, we met people holding those golden tickets to the event. But they had been turned away at the door once the room reached capacity.
 
“Four hours to get the tickets and then another couple of hours for them to turn us away,” said Stephanie Ramirez.
 
“It’s still holding back people and that's the common people,” said Willetta Felder. “I want to see how many common people are in there, people that are unemployed like myself in there right now.”
 
“I know a lot of the 'dreamers' got in,” said a man named Erick. “All these, like, Americans are here, and it’s like, the Americans don't get to see their own president.” 
 
For the people who were turned away and those who got in, taking off work and standing in line was about being in the room with the man they helped elect. The words in his speech were important but not as much as the experience.
 
“It was actually worth the wait because I actually got to shake his hand as he left the building,” Hudson said.